Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Critics Consensus

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales proves that neither a change in directors nor an undead Javier Bardem is enough to drain this sinking franchise's murky bilge.



Total Count: 274


Audience Score

User Ratings: 130,376
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Movie Info

Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales." The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea-notably Jack. Jack's only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.

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Johnny Depp
as Capt. Jack Sparrow
Orlando Bloom
as Will Turner
Kaya Scodelario
as Carina Smyth
Javier Bardem
as Capt. Salazar
Geoffrey Rush
as Barbossa
David Wenham
as Scarfield
Mahesh Jadu
as Spanish Soldier
Adam Brown
as Cremble
Goran D. Kleut
as Pirate Broom
Zoe Ventoura
as Mayor's Wife
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News & Interviews for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Critic Reviews for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

All Critics (274) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (80) | Rotten (194)

  • The subtitle of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie is "Dead Men Tell No Tales." The moral of the movie, alas, is that the same cannot be said of dead franchises.

    Jun 2, 2017 | Full Review…
  • If being dull, gruesome and obnoxiously loud weren't enough, Dead Men Tell No Tales makes sure to get in a blast of sexism, too.

    May 30, 2017 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • The bounty of bawdy bits feel borrowed from Benny Hill ("No woman's ever handled my Herschel before!" says a stunned telescope operator), while the slapstick violence skews toward the Three Stooges.

    May 26, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • Is this really only the fifth entry in the Pirates film franchise? It feels like the 50th. Except for Javier Bardem, who brings a dollop of fresh mischief to this paycheck party, Dead Men has all the flavor of rotting leftovers.

    May 26, 2017 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg work up a stormy sea-parting finale that is better than anything in The Ten Commandments. Again, the trick to enjoying this film is to expect nothing.

    May 26, 2017 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • I daresay it is the very best fourth sequel ever made to a movie based on a 50-year-old theme park ride.

    May 26, 2017 | Full Review…

    Chris Klimek

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

  • Mar 23, 2019
    The franchise is mostly just quoting itself at this point, trying to find new ludicrous action sequences (the guillotine one is great), MacGuffins to chase and weird undead conditions for the bad guys. That's entertaining enough and wraps up the series rather nicely in its final scenes, but was it really necessary? Probably not.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2018
    In trying to spring the murky, muddy, and muddled Pirates of the Caribbean series from the creative depths of Davy Jones' Locker by bringing in a new villain and directors, Disney's murkier, muddier, and even more muddled latest instead sinks any interest in future installments. In this PG-13-rated adventure, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) searches for the trident of Poseidon while being pursued by an undead sea captain (Javier Bardem) and his crew. Save for the first chapter, The Curse of the Black Pearl, this franchise never sailed smoothly. The first half of the second sequel, Dead Man's Chest, charts a fun familiar course but then quickly delves into an unnecessarily complicated abyss where humor goes out the window. Waterlogging the storyline with confusing, long, and, frankly, dull otherworldly tangents was merely done to stretch out a thin plot to accommodate a third flick, At World's End. With On Stranger Tides, the producers bought a very popular swashbuckling fantasy novel and STILL managed to make a boring movie. In Dead Men Tell No Tales, said tale lacks originality, the comedy falls flat and the action fails to throw off any sparks. In fact, it's a tale that shouldn't have been told at all. It's not as if moviegoers were clamoring for more high seas hijinks from a series that was left for Dead years ago. The single most interesting and reliable X-Factor of the series is, of course, Captain Jack Sparrow. Johnny Depp's brilliantly daft Keith Richards-inspired take on the character was once considered so "risky" that Disney flirted with firing the actor for such an off-beat portrayal. With his latest take on the pirate, it seems like he is imitating his past performances--not channeling the character. It almost feels as if one of the Cosplay actors dressed as Captain Jack in front of Mann's Chinese Theater stands in for Depp. Javier Bardem stands and delivers just fine but it's hard to distinguish his ghostly heavy from that of Bill Nighy's Davy Jones in the grand scheme of things. Overall, however, it's the directors, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Bandidas, Kon-Tiki), who must got down with the ship. The Pirates of the Caribbean series may have already had a sinking feeling but their miscalculated take on the humor and explosive set pieces in the movie just dashes whatever remained of the series against the rocks. To Sum It All Up: Swashbuckled
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 25, 2018
    With poor plotting, inconsistent pacing and a rushed sense of chemistry amongst the new cast Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales exposes the swashbuckling sequel as nothing more than a cash-grab that's as hollow as the ships they occupy. 2/5
    Super Reviewer
  • Feb 25, 2018
    Pirates of the Caribbean is an interesting franchise. Interesting indeed. I don't necessarily mean that I find the world and its characters fascinating, because I really don't. I just mean its reasons for continuing to exist in this day and age when, really, people don't really care about the franchise anymore. I shouldn't say that, since I'm sure the hardcore Pirates fans love this franchise, I just mean that mainstream audiences sort of gave up on the franchise by the end of the first sequel. These films are still commercially successful worldwide, but there's something to be said about the fact that this is the second-lowest grossing entry in the franchise. People have just grown tired, as there seems to be no real growth within the franchise. Say what you will about the MCU, but they've found new ways to avoid franchise fatigue because they find new twists and angles. They also find different stories to tell within their universe. And, naturally, every installment in this franchise tells a different story, but it's got a very familiar feeling to where it feels like you're watching the same movie over and over again. These films nowadays are produced simply because the Pirates name, as watered down as it is, is still a lucrative franchise for Disney and they can make a lot of money off of it, still. But it's obvious that they don't consider Pirates an A-team franchise anymore. Marvel and Star Wars have taken over. There was a time when Pirates was one of the biggest properties for Disney. Now, it's just one of many. Personally, while I ended up giving Dead Man's Chest a positive score (THREE WHOLE STARS), I just gave up on it before it was even over. As far as I can remember, the film was way too fucking long. Me and the friends I watched it with lamented this fact. There were seriously like 3-5 'climactic' scenes where you thought 'ok, this is where it ends' and it just kept going. Pacing was horrendous. Plot was convoluted, but, at the time, I felt there was still enough of the old Pirates to make Dead Man's Chest enjoyable. But that was it for me. I didn't bother with At World's End. I've never seen that from beginning to end. Nor have I seen On Stranger Tides. I probably wouldn't have bothered with this movie either if it wasn't for the fact that it was available on Netflix. Every time I hear of a new Pirates movie I'm like 'Really? They're making another one of those?'. I don't think that's a reaction you want. The only thing that made me give this more than a second glance, prior to release, was the fact that Javier Bardem was the main villain. And, if you've followed my reviews, you know that I love this man and the intensity he brings to all the roles he plays. He was the main reason I gave this a shot and, quite frankly, because I wanted something a little lighter to watch. I haven't actually settled on a score yet at this point in the review, but if I'm perfectly honest, I found this to be a perfectly solid blockbuster. Yes, you heard that correctly. I'm not suggesting that the character of Jack Sparrow (or Johnny Depp for that matter) has not jumped the shark a thousand times over, but that doesn't mean that the character still can't provide some entertainment. I assume that if I had watched every Pirates film in existence, then I'd already be sick and tired of the shtick by now, but the last Pirates movies I watched (the aforementioned Dead Man's Chest) was released TWELVE years ago this summer. My POTC consumption has been kept to an absolute minimum since then. So what felt old in 2006 might not necessarily feel that way today. I also welcome the simply approach to the story. The problem with the first two Pirates sequel, at least from what I saw, was the fact that they had to top themselves. Everything had to be bigger and louder. There just had to be more of absolutely everything. It was a movie of excesses and it just didn't know how to handle multiple plot threads adeptly. I assume that At World's End was more of the same. I can't comment on On Stranger Tides, but it seems that it simplified things down from the film's peak of excess. This movie, thankfully, keeps that simplicity. Hell, the movie doesn't even go over two hours before the credits start to roll. There's a post-credits scene teasing, yes, the continuation of the franchise. I felt like this is a spiritual sequel to the original, which still remains one of the best summer blockbusters I've ever seen, in that it feels closer to it in tone and pacing than any of the other flicks in the franchise. The plot follows a group of characters searching for this MacGuffin, Poseidon's Trident, that apparently cures any curse at sea, no matter how long that curse has been in effect. Henry Turner wishes to find the Trident to save his father from his curse of being part of the crew of the Flying Dutchman for the rest of his life, where he can only step on land once a decade. Jack Sparrow wants the Trident so he can break the curse of Salazar and his men, who are out to kill him for what he did that resulted in them being cursed. And Corina wants to find the Trident to fulfill her father's (whom she never met) lifelong ambition. That's it. Really. That's all there is to the movie. You don't know how thankful I am for that. The movie is easy to follow and there's a clear endgame is sight. There's no real distractions like unnecessary subplots. I don't wanna say every scene is there to lead to the climax, because it's not like absolutely everything here is relevant to the plot or moving it forward, there's some diversions that are all about giving Jack Sparrow some more comedic scenes. But, by and large, the main plot threads all help to move our characters toward the Trident. One of the things I will give the Pirates franchise and that is their ability to craft some very visually memorable villains. The first two sequels come to mind instantly, some of the designs for the villains were tremendous. I think Salazar and his men are a little more toned back than those scene in Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, but I still found them to be a surprisingly effective group of villains. There's enough here to where the normal spectator (ie: not a movie nerd like me) might find them to look creepy, as Salazar's men look exactly like they did at the moment they died. For example, Salazar is missing part of the back of his head. One of them doesn't even have the top of his head, just the mouth and chin (and the rest of his body naturally). And I thought they looked cool. Plus, again, Javier Bardem brings an intensity that adds an air of legitimacy to his group of villains. The film has plenty of action. Some might say too much, but there's some pretty cool moments I felt. The whole scene with the guillotine was actually really cool. The first set-piece of the horses pulling the actual bank building with them, on top of an actual several-ton safe, is a little unrealistic, but a fun way to reintroduce the characters. I mean, really, who can expect realism in a franchise with ghosts, real curses, zombies, mermaids, witches, etc, etc. There's a subplot with Corina finding out who her real father is which feels like a low-rent version of the same plot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Given the fact that this film has a more limited cast compared to the first sequels, it's fairly easy to figure out who Corina's father is. It just doesn't have the same emotional weight as Yondu's arc where he came to the realization that he was Star-Lord's real dad. The problem with it here was the fact that the suggestion of whom it might be comes more than halfway into the film and it just doesn't feel earned, to me. It just feels like forced sentimentality from a movie that, realistically speaking, didn't really need it. As far as action, there's plenty of it, but it's not really particularly memorable. It's certainly needed the action, but I think it gets by on the characters. Say what you will about Johnny Depp and the fact that he's become a Disney mascot since the unprecedented success of the original POTC, but he's still good in the role. Obviously Jack Sparrow is not as fresh and entertaining as he used to be, but he can still offer some laughs. There's a fun little cameo by Paul McCartney, who plays Jack's uncle. The casting is good, but, obviously, Javier Bardem steals the show here. If you disagree then, really, I don't know what your problem is. The new additions, in Kaya Scoladerio and Brenton Thwaites, are welcome, but they're really there to react to the madness going on around them. I didn't really find their characters to be that interesting, honestly. They're not awful, but, again, they're reacting to the madness around them in bland ways. I blame that on the scripting more than on the casting. The film looks great. Filming in Australia certainly helps, but the cinematography has got that Hollywood glean all over it. It's definitely a pretty movie to look at, even if it might be hollow. Don't really know what else to say. I think I've decided on giving this 2.5 stars. If I could give quarter ratings, this would get a 2.75 instead. I felt it was better than 2.5, but I don't feel comfortable giving it 3 stars either. It's a solid popcorn film, but it's obvious that the peak for this franchise was with its first installment. Every sequel feels like they're trying to recapture that, but they'll likely never succeed. Anyway, I liked this movie more than the rating implies, it's a pretty enjoyable movie, but I never felt that it truly was a good movie. That's just me, you may feel differently.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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